Furiko, meaning "pendulum," shows the highs and lows of a family of two—a high schooler, and his future wife, whom he rescues from delinquents. From the brilliant mind of comedian Tekken, comes a heartwarming story of a couple overcoming their differences even as they struggle through life. Not a moment goes by without meaning or expression in these three minutes.
Furiko (Pendulum) is a rather pleasant gem. It's an anime short that manages to capture and invoke emotions in its viewers that's sometimes unattainable by the likes of 20 minute episode series. Where many fail it succeeded with elegance and modesty.
It immerses you into the lives of a couple in an authentic way. It doesn't force itself upon the viewer but gently glides into focus. And with its simplistic flip-book inspired visuals and accompanying somber musical backing, it's able to tell a coherent story that's woven together beautifully.
This is a short tale that leaves an awe inspiring message to any viewer invested into
it, no matter your background or demographic. It shows the bittersweet flow of time through the guise of a swinging pendulum. Striped of any unnecessary elements it gives us a quick glimpse into someone's fleeting life and the unwavering truth about everyone's final outcome in the most honest form.
With a run time of only 3mins this is surely something worthy of your time. It's short, potent and something that can lead to a cathartic moment upon completion. Its beauty comes from its simplicity. A must watch for anyone.
It's unfortunate that so many brilliant animated shorts in Japan are largely obscure to western audiences. It's also unexpected that a Japanese comedian, going by the pseudonym "Tekken", was able to capture the hearts of millions with two short, dialogue-less, and crudely drawn animations. The following covers the first of the two, entitled "Furiko" (otherwise known as Pendulum).
You don't need words to tell a beautiful story. It's such a rare thing to see in recent anime, but Takefumi Kurashina takes the medium and strips it to its rawest form - basic animation, simple music, and an uncomplicated plot. Telling the story of a man's journey
through life and love, the narrative is done beautifully and flows effortlessly, and is an entirely silent affair. That being said, Furiko plays on its simplicity with great success, with the emotions of its characters pulling through in every fleeting scene. The narrative is pushed along with the frame being captured in a swinging pendulum, only stopping when the man pauses to realize the beauty in his life. Like a swinging pendulum, life moves on, and these realizations are far and in between life's tragically brief existence.
The music accompanying the man's story is perfect. It's a vague statement, but one that isn't really given out lightly. The lyric-less song begins with four piano chords, which repeat themselves throughout the entirety of the story. With the repetition of these chords matching up with the incessant swinging of the "pendulum", violin melodies are added as the story progresses, similar to Pachelbel's Canon in D. Like the story, the melody's buildup has a beginning, a climax, and an end, bringing everything back to the same four chords used at the beginning of the piece. Ashes to ashes, so to speak. It very much reflects the whole aspect of life as a journey, marked at the beginning and end with life and death.
I'm not a big fan of the word "tearjerker", but in Furiko's case, tearjerker is most definitely an understatement. In three, short minutes, Furiko accomplishes to do what dozens of long-running episodes might not - emotionally captivate you with simplicity, subtlety, and an endearing story.
Pendulum not trying to embellish reality, she is represented as. This beautiful and sad animated flip-book is like a drama, all the emotions spend.
Also very tragic. One can easily immerse in the context.
This animation is authentic, it shows Japan as!
The portrait of so many families in Japan ... Life for a Japanese man is his work, always staying out late, drinking Friday night etc.. As a result, the family passes behind, no time for us and without he realizes, he finds himself in retirement.
When he realizes all this, it's too late ... He tries to stop the clock, it symbolically shows that he wants to
stop time, but again, it's too late ...
The implicit message that the author wants us to understand is that: time flies, you should take advantage and pick up his life before it was damaged and washed away by time.
Furiko (Pendulum) is a short often praised for the fact that there aren't any actual flaws with the type of story it is trying to be. While it is true that there isn't an aspect within the 3 minutes that seems pointless or that hinders the story, this alone is not sufficient, at least for me, to be an amazing story.
We must look at Furko's intent to better see how great of a job it did. As with most shorts, Furiko attempts to resonate with us on our base desires on instinct; in this case, it involves the passage of time and all the struggles
one may go through within his or her lifetime. Although I admit that there were commendable aspects of visual storytelling, especially with the protagonist's attempt to reject the swing of the pendulum, I feel that the issue with Furiko was that it didn't do a sufficient job at providing the proper weight for its story elements.
Furiko quickly flashes moment-to-moment within the life of the protagonist, but given that the short is 3 minutes, it lacks the ability to introspect upon any given event, instead relying on strong expressions of emotion in order to invest us within the character as all individuals can relate in some way to those feelings. However, this over-reliance on the basest of our emotions came off as far too cheap, a shortcut for investment that didn't work for me in particular. Countless events flew by in seconds without allowing them to sink in properly. Although each and every event may have some relevance to the story being told, the inability to provide proper investment due to the brevity of each moment was an issue.
Many would argue that this issue stems from the length itself and that it is unfair to harshly criticize the series for these issues when a 3-minute time-span necessitates it. While this is true, the fact that this is a series relying so heavily upon the viewer empathizing with the character, all of these issues on this front are relevant. Sure it's hard to do much better for a 3 minute short, but by virtue of being 3 minutes long, there isn't as much room for error as there is for a 1-cour series, let alone a long-running 100 episode series. It is just as fair to criticize the series for lacking elements difficult to incorporate for its run-time as it is to praise it for lacking flaws which is also only possibly due to that run-time.
Final Verdict: (Personal Score: 5.5/10)
I would recommend "House of Small Cubes" as another short that in my opinion does a better job with its goal, though it has the advantage of being 12 minutes long.
Ultimately, the evaluation of this series depends on how effective it was at resonating with the viewer. I cannot say my review is close to being absolute, as I myself am in the minority, given how well-received this series is. It is certainly worth watching given its length. Whether a viewer likes it more than me ultimately depends on whether the series was able to better resonate with that viewer. The same issues I had with the series' investment quality aren't ones that everyone shares with me.